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7 Famous Self Taught Artists

The ability to create art is available to everyone. It simply takes setting aside the time and going with your favorite medium to create something you love. Many artists were had formal training with strict guidelines before branching out on their own. But a few artists throughout history managed to get where they were with self-taught skills.

Here’s a list of people throughout history that painted a path for themselves:

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1. Aloise Corbaz

Corbaz was known for creating pieces of art that represented feminine power. Many of the artist’s themes included luxury, eroticism, and drama. The women in her pictures were colossal in stature compared to the shorter men she painted.

She was born to a family of six children in 1886. After her mother’s death at the age of 11, she was cared for by a sister. That same sister sent her off to become a governess to the emperor’s chaplain.

Aloise Corbaz began showing signs the first signs of mental health issues after developing an imagined attachment to the emperor. She was committed to a hospital in 1918 after displaying what was described as “extremely pacifist views and erotic behaviors. The artist once said she was much like an “extinguished Christmas tree.”

It is believed that she projects her inner self onto her paintings and that her life experiences fuel the themes of her pieces.

2. Martin Ramirez

Born in 1895 to a Catholic family in west-central Mexico, Ramirez worked hard enough to get himself a small ranch. He married in 1918 and had three children with his wife, but left his pregnant wife and kids for work in 1925 California.

During his time in California, his ranch had been completely destroyed during a violent rebellion.

After becoming homeless and getting picked up by the police, Ramirez was committed to a hospital with a schizophrenia diagnosis. During his stay, he drew on whatever paper surface was available to him.

He created highly structured, geometric lines that can be described as hypnotic.

3. Nek Chand

Born in 1924 in a small Indian village, Chand spent a great deal of time working on a farm in his village until 1947. After the Pakistan/India partition, his family had to move. He later separated from his family in 1954, found employment as a road inspector, and even got married.

Nek Chand began his self-motivated art career in 1958 by collecting specific stones, bring them to a hidden place only he knew of and began building something. What was it? His own fantasy kingdom. And it completes complete with its own humanoid statue residents.

This rock garden stands a full 18 acres with a total of over 3,000 sculptures spread throughout the site.

4. Michel Nedjar

Born in 1947 in a village near Paris, Nedjar was part of a Jewish family that moved to France after losing relatives in the Holocaust. While he had a total of six siblings, three boys, and three girls, he preferred the company of sisters.

He spent enough time with his female siblings that he began making clothing for their dolls.

The artist began making poupées during a depressive slump in the 1970s. They all look like a cross between road kill and nightmares about talking masks.

5. Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh was not a man known for his love of classroom structure and was taught at home by his mother and the family’s governess. His brother, Theo, had once laid eyes on a sketch Vincent had done, the older brother motivated sibling into enrolling at an art school in 1880. That art school stint did not last long.

For most of what would be a short life, Van Gogh focused on painting, taking influences from wherever he could find them.

If you ask a fan of his what it was that drove him, they would likely tell you it was the emotional distress he went through in life.
The surrealism that Van Gogh was able to create was oddly unique that not many people can replicate.

Don’t be scared to branch out and try your hand at painting on a canvas. You might be surprised at you are able to create when you sit down and take the time do it.

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